Control noxious weeds now, not later |

Control noxious weeds now, not later

With warmer than average temperatures South Dakota landowners need to get their noxious weeds under control earlier than ever this season, however control logistics are making this a challenge, said Paul O. Johnson, SDSU Extension Weed Science Coordinator.

“With the warm temperatures spring pasture spraying should begin soon for biennial thistle and wormwood sage – both noxious weeds. Controlling noxious weeds is the law, however, because there are fewer commercial spray businesses operating in South Dakota, many landowners are having a difficult time scheduling to have their pastures sprayed,” Johnson said.

Johnson explains that the noxious weeds are maturing three weeks earlier than normal, making it even more vital that landowners get a handle on controlling them.

“Although Canada thistle and spurge are still real small, landowners need to watch closely because these noxious weeds about three weeks ahead of normal this season,” he said. “Not being able to find a sprayer is not a valid reason not to spray these noxious weeds.”

Schedule your sprayer today

Restrictions may play a role in the fact that many commercial spray businesses are no longer spraying pastures. “If they are, there may be restrictions on the time they will spray, what products they will spray or they may only spray if they also have all of the rest of your spraying business,” Johnson said. “These restrictions are making spraying pastures more difficult and limited.”

Due to the limited number of commercial sprayers willing to spray pastures, Johnson encourages landowners to schedule today.

“Now is the time to be booking a commercial sprayer,” he said.

If a landowner is unable to schedule a commercial sprayer and is faced with task of controlling weeds, Johnson reminds landowners that in order to spray they must have a Private Pesticide Applicator card.

“Today, anyone who has a farm that has the potential to gross more than $1,000 of income from their farm is required to have this certification to apply any pesticide to their property, whether or not they are restricted use pesticides,” he said.

When applying restricted use pesticides, landowners also need to keep application records for two years following the date they were applied.

They also need to have an emergency response plan developed for their farm if they are spraying.

To learn more and receive information on this topic, contact Johnson at Information may also be found at your local SDSU Extension Regional Center. A complete listing can be found at

–SDSU Extension

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